Friday, April 7, 2006

April 8-22, 2006 – Nissan 10-24, 5766

Passover PLUS Edition


April 8-22, 2006 – Nissan 10-24, 5766


Shabbat ha-Gadol, Pesach and Beyond


Rabbi Joshua Hammerman, Temple Beth El, StamfordConnecticut



Send your friends and relatives the gift of Jewish awareness -- a Shabbat-O-Gram each week, by signing them up at  To be removed from this mailing list, sent e-mail request to  If you have signed up and are not receiving our e-mails, check your spam filter to make sure that TBE is not being “spammed out.”









Contents of the Shabbat O Gram:

(Click to scroll down)


Just the Facts (service schedule)

The Rabid Rabbi

Mitzvah/Tzedakkah Opportunities

Ask the Rabbi

Spiritual Journey on the Web   

Required Reading and Action Items (links to key articles on Israel and Jewish life)

 Announcements (goings on in and around TBE)

Joke for the Week



Quote for the Week


On Pesach we celebrate the power of giving life. The Zohar calls matza "nahama dmehemenusa", bread of faith. It is the fruit of the Tree of Life, before Adam sinned. One fruit is enough to give you life completely so you don't have to eat over and over again. If man would only really have faith, one piece of matza would be enough to last him for his whole life.


 Reb Shlomo Carlebach






If you have yet to RSVP for Dan’s Bar Mitzvah on 4/22,

please do so TODAY at



IF YOU HAVE NOT RECEIVED ONE, PLEASE LET ME KNOW, BUT KNOW ALSO THAT YOU ARE INVITED! We want to be sure to get accurate numbers to the caterer.


The Hammermans



Happy Passover


Those high school students wishing to attend services on the first day of Passover, Thursday, April 13th, may obtain an absentee letter for their school’s attendance office by contacting Ellen at 322-6901, ext. 308 or


Friday Evening 

Candle lighting Candle lighting: Candle lighting: 7:07pm on Friday, 07 April 2006  - Havdalah is at 8:11pm  on Saturday evening. For candle lighting times, other Jewish calendar information, and to download a Jewish calendar to your PDA, click on  To see the festivals of other faiths as well, go to


Kabbalat Shabbat: 6:30 PM – in the chapel


Tot Shabbat featuring MATZO MAN: 6:45, in the lobby


Shabbat Morning: 9:30 AM – Mazal tov to Jeff Cooper, who will become Bar Mitzvah this Shabbat morning! 


Children’s services: 10:30

Torah Portion:  Tzav Leviticus 6:1 - 8:36

1: 7:11-15
2: 7:16-18
3: 7:19-21
4: 7:22-27
5: 7:28-31
6: 7:32-34
7: 7:35-38
maf: 7:35-38

Haftarah –: Shabbat HaGadol / Malachi 3:4 - 3:24)

See a weekly commentary from the UJC Rabbinic Cabinet, at  Read the Masorti commentary at  University of Judaism,  JTS commentary is at: USCJ Torah Sparks can be found at UAHC Shabbat Table Talk discussions are at Other divrei Torah via the Torahnet home page: Test your Parasha I.Q.: CLAL’s Torah commentary archive:  World Zionist Organization Education page, including Nehama Liebowitz archives of parsha commentaries: For a more Kabbalistic/Zionist/Orthodox perspective from Rav Kook, first Chief Rabbi of Israel, go to For some probing questions and meditations on key verses of the portion, with a liberal kabbalistic bent, go to or, for Kabbalistic commentaries from the Zohar itself, go to To see the weekly commentary from Hillel, geared to college students and others, go to For a Jewish Renewal and feminist approach go to .  For a comprehensive Orthodox viewpoint from the Israeli rabbi, Yaakov Fogelman, go to the Torah Outreach Program at  Guided meditations for each portion by Judith Abrams at

 For online Parsha quizzes from Pardes in Israel, go to Torah for Kids:  Weekly Lesson of Popular Israeli Rabbi Mordechai Elon: - and his parsha sheets:   From Bar Ilan University:


Mincha – Ma’ariv – Havdalah: 7:00PM– Mazal Tov to Jesse Hirtenstein, who will become Bat Mitzvah this Shabbat late-afternoon!



Passover Schedule:


Wed., April 12. – Siyum for first born (completing a selection of Talmud enabling first born to avoid the fast) – after our 7:30 AM minyan


Thurs. April 13, Fri. April 14, Sat. April 15, Wed. April 19, Thurs. April 20:

Festival services for the 1st two and last two days and intermediate Shabbat. Children’s services will be held with Nurit on all days of the festival.  Keep in mind that Shabbat service attendance credit will also be given for attendance on all four weekday full-Yom Tov festival days. 



Friday April 14 – Kabbalat Shabbat at 7:30 PM in the chapel (no Tot Shabbat)


Shabbat April 15 – Beth El Cares Shabbat (see below)


Friday April 21 – Kabbalat Shabbat at 6:30 PM in the chapel

Tot Shabbat at 6:45 PM in the lobby


Shabbat morning, April 22: 9:30 AM - Mazal tov to Dan Hammerman, who becomes Bar Mitzvah this Shabbat morning!  Extra parking and shuttle buses will be available at Westhill High School


Children’s services: 10:30

Torah Portion:  Shemini - Leviticus 9:1 - 11:47

1: 10:12-15
2: 10:16-20
3: 11:1-8
4: 11:9-12
5: 11:13-19
6: 11:20-28
7: 11:29-32
maf: 11:29-32


Haftarah - II Samuel 6:1 - 7:17



Morning Minyan: Weekdays at 7:30, Sundays at 9:30 AM





The Rabid Rabbi



Three Articles from the Times


I’ve never wanted to be one of those rabbis who spends all his time quoting the New York Times, but this week three front-page articles have fascinated me.

One indicated that prayer has been proven ineffective in dealing with illness.  The article is called, Long-Awaited Medical Study Questions the Power of Prayer; for me the key quote is this one: "The problem with studying religion scientifically is that you do violence to the phenomenon by reducing it to basic elements that can be quantified, and that makes for bad science and bad religion," said Dr. Richard Sloan, a professor of behavioral medicine at Columbia.


I agree with Dr. Sloan.  The idea is not that prayer provides a magic “bullet” that solves all problems.  There has been some evidence that it might in fact impact our physiological state, but that is not the prime way that prayer heals.  Prayer helps us to become more human, more organic and more whole. It connects us to that which is beyond the ailment to our community, to our people’s immortality, and to God.  The word for prayer in Hebrew connotes introspection, so prayer also  helps us to search deep within ourselves for those wellsprings of inner fortitude that can get us through.  And prayer helps us to envision a time beyond the scope of the disease, a time when hope and healing have gained the ultimate triumph.  I often tell people that the goal of prayer is healing rather than cure.  When we are healed, the cure often comes as well.  But even if it doesn’t, healing through connection and prayer is still possible.


On Tuesday, there was a front page article featuring, of all things, Synaplex! It was entitled: With Yoga, Comedy and Parties, Synagogues Entice Newcomers.

One read through helps us all to realize how helpful our connection to this exciting national venture will be for us – and how important it is for the Jewish future. I found this quote, by Rabbi Rick Jacobs, most compelling:  "The world is a different world," said Rabbi Jacobs. "There's a greater marketplace of spiritual options for people. If synagogues are not compelling places, who's going to bother to join and be involved?"


Finally, on Thursday we read that the missing link has been found – a fish that walks!!!  Well, at least it walked - millions of years ago.  The thing is, not only did it have limbs – but it also had fins and scales.  In other words, the missing link was kosher!


So when you bite into that first piece of gefilte on Wednesday night, pause for a moment to think of our pre-amphibious Kosher ancestor, with the fins, scales and limbs. 


Have a good, sweet Passover.



Jewish Farmers in Connecticut


A Jewish author is writing a book about Jewish farmers past and present in Connecticut.  If anyone knows of someone who has information on this subject, please contact Dr. Kenneth Libo at or 212-227-0732






For more information, go to

If you are interested in participating in our steering committee or would like an info packet, contact me at







Mitzvah/Tzedakkah Opportunties



Do You Have Room at Your Seder…for three Israeli au pairs??


I received this request from TBE member Evelyn Blum of the Au Pair in America program:


We have three Israeli au pairs who will be arriving in Stamford on April 10th for our 4-day orientation program at the Crowne Plaza Hotel before beginning their year-old program with their American host families. They would like to attend a Seder on Wednesday evening, and, if possible, would like to stay together.

Their names are:
Jasmin Lahav who is 22 years old
Efrat Ohayon who is 23
Lilach Rosenfeld who is 21.

If you are interested, contact Evelyn (399-5027).   This could definitely be a fascinating multi-cultural experience!


The Au Pair in America program is a U.S. Department of State designated program which brings young people between the ages of 18 and 26 to the U.S. to stay with American host families while providing up to 45 hours a week of child care and attending 6 credits hours of post-secondary school.  All of these au pairs already have been placed with families where they will be working (one of them in Stamford) – they just have nowhere to go for the Seder.





In Need of a New Kidney


This plea comes via Marcia and Michael Zlotnick, who know this family:


My 14 year old daughter Sophia has end stage renal disease (kidney disease). She was first diagnosed when she was six years old. Slowly, over the last eight years, this disease has destroyed her kidneys. Recently, her kidneys failed. She is now on dialysis every day and in need of a kidney transplant.


Unfortunately, neither my wife and I, nor any of our close relatives, extended family or friends are a “match”. The first hurdle to being a donor match is blood type. 


Possible donors must be in good health and have either blood type “O” or a subset of “A” referred to as A2. Whether or not a person’s blood type is classified as “negative” or “positive” is not relevant. Adults are able to donate a kidney to children and sex is not an issue. Males can donate to females and visa versa.


I know it is a lot to ask, and really more than should be expected, but she is my daughter and she needs help. If anybody is interested in possibly donating a kidney (the first step being a simple blood test) or if you simply want to learn more about the process, the contact to call at Yale is:


Ms. Joyce Albert

Transplant Coordinator

Yale New Haven Hospital

Phone: 203-688-8373

(emails should indicate subject “Corsaro”)


All communication with the Transplant Coordinator is confidential. Yale will not contact us in any way, unless specifically instructed to do so by the donor candidate.


There is no cost for a donor or donor candidate.


If you or anyone else would like more information on the topic of organ donation / transplantation, please note the following internet web links:


The web site is very informative.  The PDF booklet “What Every Patient Needs to Know”, found in the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) web site is particularly good. It takes a long time to download, but it has a good deal of information for both the patient and potential donor. It can be found as follows:



Patient Brochures

PDF “What Every Patient Needs to Know”


Other relevant web links include:





Francis and Irene Corsaro

From a Student in our Hebrew School


Hello.  I am doing a fundraiser for "Walk Against Hunger".  I am going to be walking with my mom for 3 miles on May 7, 2006.  I was wondering if you could please help support me by including this in your shabbatogram. If any TBE member would like to contribute, they can do so by writing checks (which are tax deductible) to "Connecticut Food Bank" or "Walk Against Hunger."  The checks can be sent to me at 57 Saw Mill RoadStamford CT, 06903.  When people donate, we as a whole are helping the hungry.  


Thank you very much,

~Haley Erskine~


TBE Job Bank (the Highest Level of Tzedakkah)


Lisa Gilbert is our fabulous architect who is designing our bakery and cafe at the JCC.  Her friend is looking for an associate who does white collar criminal defense.  She is Jewish if that helps.  If you know someone looking for a job, pass it on!

Very best,

Rebecca Martin



Beth El Cares
Cathy Satz (968-9191;
Cheryl Wolff (968-6361;
BETH EL CARES co-chairs
Blood Drive
Give the Gift of Life! Get involved in a short term mitzvah project that will save lives.  
Who benefits from these blood donations? 
People who are born prematurely, people with auto-immune and other blood disorders, people involved in accidents… 
Many people, including temple members, have received blood transfusions in the past and some people need regular blood transfusions.  
On Sunday, April 30th between 8:30 am and 1:30 pm we need 125 healthy adults who are at least 17 years old, 
weigh at least 110 pounds and have not given blood since the beginning of March.  
The Red Cross will provide the “beds”; we need to put “arms in the beds”.  Color War points will be awarded to your child’s color war team!
Contact Cheryl Wolff to schedule your donation time or to volunteer to help.  


Lock of Love

As promised, Beth El Cares will be hosting another group donation for children and teens to cut their hair for “Locks of Love”.  

If your hair is 10” or longer (in a ponytail), mark Sunday May 7 on your calendar.

Guy Sasson & Company will be coming to Temple Beth El to start haircuts at 12:00 noon

 (right after Religious School). Advance sign-up is required. 

Mother and daughter teams will be accepted! Rebecca and Cathy Satz are hopeful they’ll both have their 10” by then-they’re close!


Contact Cathy Satz to schedule your appointment.


Beth El Cares Shabbat

We hope you can join us at Shabbat morning services on Saturday April 15,

when we will be hosting a panel discussion regarding Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. 

We will feature at least two panelists, Gabi Birkner, staff writer for the Jewish Week

who has been to the south several times since Hurricane Katrina and has written some moving reports

and Rosaline Feinstein, congregant, who has also written a moving report detailing her recent visit to the south.

The panel may also include some students who recently spent a few days performing mitzvah projects in New Orleans with the JCC.



Rally to Stop Genocide

Sunday, April 30th

2:00 - 4:00

(Group will gather beginning at 1:00)

The Mall WashingtonDC


Carl Weinberg is working with Beth El Cares to organize a group from Stamford to attend this rally.  

For more information about the rally and other Darfur initiatives,

contact Carl at 539-5560 (day), 322-8675 (evenings) or


DARFUR UPDATE – April 9 at 11:00 here at TBE!!!!


The Darfur Support Coalition of Fairfield County has been very active in raising awareness of the terrible genocide taking place in Darfur (Western Sudan). Some of their recent activities include:  
      o Participation in a national Million Voices for Darfur post card campaign to
         President Bush asking him to use his influence to create an international
         force to protect the refugees in Darfur.
      o Planning and recruiting for a bus trip to Washington on April 30 to join the
         national rally to stop the genocide in Darfur.
      o Working in concert with other Darfur support groups  to convince the State of
         Connecticut to divest itself of companies that are investing in or otherwise
         supporting Darfur.

There are still too many people who are unaware of what is happening in Darfur.  We will be seeing a presentation designed to raise awareness of the crime against humanity that is taking place there, and what we can do to help stop it. The presentation includes an overview/background of the current situation, a 10 minute DVD, a Q& A period and handouts.


The Darfur Support Coalition of Fairfield County has been very active in raising awareness of the terrible genocide taking place in Darfur (Western Sudan).  We hope you will take some action to urge our government to help stop this genocide.  Contact Carl Weinberg at 539-5560 (day), 322-8675 (evenings) or to learn about some of the things you can do, such as participate in a post card writing campaign.


Lock of Love

Todah Rabah to Rebecca Satz, the latest Temple Beth El Locks of Love Donor!  Rebecca just couldn’t wait until Sunday May 7 when Beth El Cares will be hosting another group donation for children and teens to cut their hair for “Locks of Love”.  If your hair is 10” or longer (in a ponytail), join us on Sunday May 7. Guy Sasson & Company will be coming to Temple Beth El to start haircuts at 12:00 noon (right after Religious School). Advance sign-up is required.  Mother and daughter teams will be accepted-Cathy will volunteer to “adopt a daughter” for her team!


Contact Cathy Satz to schedule your appointment.



Help Wanted-A Beth-El Cares Representative On The Synaplex™ Shabbat Committee


We still need someone to represent Beth-El Cares on the committee that will be planning Synaplex Shabbats. Each Shabbat experience will be designed to meet the needs of our community at that time.  Some congregations hold Synaplex™ on Friday evening, others on Saturday morning, while still others have it throughout Shabbat and conclude with havdalah and a post-Shabbat activity.  Over the course of next year (September 2006-June 2007), with approximately one Synaplex Shabbat per month, we’ll do all of the above.  We’ll be taking the best of what we’ve done over the past few years – Shabbat Unplugged, Scholars in Residence and Congregational Shabbatons, for example, and bringing it all to the next level, and we need your help. 


Please contact Cathy Satz to sign up to help mold this unique and ground-breaking experience.


Cathy Satz     968-9191  (

Cheryl Wolff 968-6361  (



Sunday, June 4, 2006

The Bennett Cancer Center Walk and Run


The Walk/Run will be on June 4, 2006 in the morning at Shippan.  Each year TBE members walk together to raise money for cancer patients and their families.  In 2005, we had 51 walkers and our team raised over $5,200!!  This year our goal is to raise $6,000. 


We welcome all new and past walkers to come together to form the Sisterhood’s TBE Walk Team.  We always have a great time for a good cause.  You can walk at your own pace and you will have other TBE members to walk with!  The course is either 3 or 5 miles (your choice).


You can pre-register at or call Beth Silver, a TBE walk team member, at 967-8852,


Looking forward to having YOU on the team!    




Spiritual Journey on the Web


Passover Resources



Download our TBE "Sale of Hametz" Form


My own Passover guide Guide for the Perplexed



Passover: Guided Learning from

Guided Learning presents the content for this section by level of depth, and offers you a specific order by which to read through the articles at each level. You can go directly to one of the four levels by clicking below, or take a quiz that will suggest the appropriate level for you based on your results. Or, you can opt to start at the Primer and work your way through all four levels of Guided Learning one by one. Quiz on Passover  Level I: Primer Level II: Topical Overviews Level III: Deeper Explorations Level IV: Analysis & Interpretation

For a host of other Pesach links:


And finally…


Two nice links if you are interested in getting rid of the “hametz of the soul”





Yom Hashoah comes at the end of this month – here is some information from Yad Vashem

Don’t forget our own community Yom Hashoah program on the evening of April 24 at Temple Sinai.


Dear Friends,

Yad Vashem invites you to join the historic mission of the Jewish people to memorialize every individual Jew who perished in the Holocaust through the collection of the ultimate representation of their identity: their names. To date, half of the six million victims have been recorded in the Central Database of Shoah Victims’ Names (, where one may access their brief histories and, when available, their photographs, and submit additional names online.

Millions of victims may be forgotten forever, unless we recover their names today.

We are pleased to offer a new online community outreach guide to initiate local Names Recovery Campaigns. Packed with valuable resources and materials, this free guide will enable Jewish communities to plan and implement meaningful memorial programs, names collection events and related activities around Yom Hashoah - Israel’s national Holocaust Remembrance Day (this year, 25 April) and other significant dates in the Jewish calendar, such as 10th Tevet, 17th Tammuz, 9th Av, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

The guide is designed for use either by an individual or group, such as a synagogue, community center, welfare agency, survivor and next generation group, university or school. You can use it to call upon members of your community or organization to complete a “Page of Testimony” for each unregistered victim, or to volunteer to assist others with this urgent task.

To access the Community Outreach Guide visit:

Join today, before the generation that remembers is no longer with us.


Cynthia Wroclawski
Marketing Manager  
Victims' Names Collection  Project
Marketing Communications & Media Relations
Yad Vashem






 Why is this Night Different?... Really, WHY???






1. Three Matzot placed separately in the sections of the special matzah cover, or in the folds of an ordinary napkin: Two of these symbolize the two loaves of bread over which a benediction is pronounced on Sabbaths and festivals. The third matzah emphasizes the unique role of the matzah in the Pesach ritual. The matzah is a symbol of the affliction of slaves in Egypt and a reminder of the haste of departure. An allegorical explanation teaches that the three matzot represent the three groups into which Judaism is divided: Kohen, Levi, Yisrael; if we are ever to survive, we must always be united. At many Sedarim, we add supplementary symbolic matzot for different oppressed Jewish communities and individuals to be remembered at Passover when we celebrate our freedom and they are still denied their freedom.  You should also discuss non-Jewish communities and individuals who still await their own physical, spiritual and political freedom.


2. A Roasted Shankbone (Zeroah) commemorates the paschal sacrifice which our ancestors brought to the Temple on Pesach in ancient times. Vegetarians often substitute a beet (with its red juices) rather than use real bones.


3. Bitter Herbs (Maror) symbolize the bitterness of Israel's bondage in Egypt. Horseradish is usually used or a bitter lettuce.


4. A Roasted Egg (Beitzah) symbolizes the HAGGIGAH or "Festival sacrifice" which was always brought to the Temple in Jerusalem on festive occasions and which on Pesach supplemented the paschal lamb.


5. Charoset symbolizes the mortar the Israelites used building the "treasure cities for Pharaoh". Charoset is a mixture of grated apples, chopped nuts, cinnamon and a little wine, and there are many different recipes reflecting different places and cultures where Jews have celebrated Passover.


6. Parsley, Lettuce, Watercress (Karpas), or any other green herb and a dish of salt water into which it is to be dipped before being eaten: These greens symbolize the coming of Spring and suggest the perpetual renewal of life. Hence, they represent the ever-sustaining hope of human redemption. The message to us is that we must always be optimistic.


7. Four Cups of Wine to be offered during the Seder service: one at Kiddush, one following the recital of the first part of the Hallel, one after Grace and one at the conclusion of the Seder. These four cups symbolize the four-fold promise of redemption which, according to the Bible, God pledged to Israel: "I will bring you forth," (Exodus 6:6): "I will deliver you," (ibid). "I will redeem you," (ibid) and "I will take you," (Exodus 6:7).

8. Salt Water: used as a simple spice for vegetables (karpas). Some say it represents tears shed in Egypt, and others suggest that it reminds us of the Red Sea through which God led the Israelites. It may also represent the tears shed by God when He had no choice but to punish the Egyptians for their oppression of the Israelites.


9. Cup of Elijah (Kos Eliyahu): Elijah has always been associated with the coming of the Messiah. Pesach, the holiday of freedom, is an ideal time to usher in the messianic age, and so we invite Elijah to be present with us. Also, in Exodus 6:8 the Bible states, "I will bring you to the land..." Throughout the ages the Jews looked forward to this promised return to the Holy Land. In Jewish literature, Elijah was always a protective presence when a community or individual was threatened; and his presence at the Seder was very welcome throughout Jewish history in Europe when this was an especially dangerous season for Jews.




The hand washing is to cleanse the fingertips before handling the vegetables and has no symbolic ritual meaning.  Today, it is done merely to elicit questions from the children at the Seder.




It is a piece of the middle matzah set aside at the beginning of the seder (yachatz) as a substitute for the Paschal lamb and eaten at the conclusion of the meal. It is hidden during the seder to keep the children awake and interested during the middle of the seder.



The spoken language, at the time it was written, was Aramaic. Aramaic was used Since an invitation has to be extended in a language understood by all; today we use English.




We dip parsley in salt water because it reminds us of the green that comes to live again in the springtime. We dip the maror, or bitter herbs, in the sweet charoset as a sign of hope. Our ancestors were able to withstand the bitterness of slavery because it was sweetened by the hope of freedom.




Because reclining at the table was a sign of a free man in olden times. Since our ancestors were freed on this night, we recline at the table.




The Rabbis found in the Torah, four different versions of the command that the father tell the story of the Exodus to his child, deducing four different kinds of children.


A Mystical Understanding of the Four Children of the Seder


Consider the parallel between the “four children” and the “four” who entered PARDES from the Talmud:

The wise child:  Rabbi Akiva who knows the difference between water and water, -- between the upper spirituality and lower spirituality.

The wayward/other one: Acher (Elisha) who sees in the pardes a failure of absolute justice in the world, doubts and turns to his own path.

The simple one: Ben Zoma who encounters the Divine mystically literally and becomes psychologically damaged

The one who could not ask any questions: Ben Azai dies from the experience and hence can not speak.


We recite Hallel because of our awareness that the freedom is given by God, and we relate our exodus from Egypt to God's power.  Therefore, we praise Him with traditional psalms of praise.




Even though the Egyptians persecuted us, we still feel sorry that they suffered so much through the plagues. We, therefore, diminish our joy by pouring out the wine.




This is a usual ritual washing which is done at any meal where bread or matzah is eaten prior to the blessing over the bread. The table is regarded as an altar where proper conversation and decorum is maintained. Just as the priest in the past washed his hands in preparation to approaching the altar, so do we.




One is the usual blessing for bread (matzah is bread which has not risen). The other blessing is specifically for the matzah which is eaten on Pesach Eve.




We do it out of respect for the great scholar Hillel whose custom was to eat the maror with matzah. Since we recited the blessing already, we only mention why we are eating the sandwich.




The kid, cat, dog, etc., each devouring the other have represented the mighty empires of the past, each one defeating the succeeding ones until God puts a final end to their power.  Many of the popular Seder songs have various attributed meanings, although in truth we don't often really know what their authors intended.




They symbolize the festival sacrifice.  Some point out that the longer the egg is boiled, the harder it becomes, paralleling the ability of the Jewish People to become increasingly strong in the face of increasing oppression.  Others suggest that since an elegant Hellenistic meal might begin with an egg, so then did the Seder meal that imitated a luxurious dining style of that period for free people.




"Next year in Jerusalem." This wish has always been associated with a future of perfect peace. To the Jew today it also expresses his close ties with Israel and his desire to visit Israel soon.




Required Reading and Action Items




Let’s begin with GOOD NEWS from Israel 21c 


Israeli 'soul' to debut at New York's Apollo Theater  
It will be a scene that the world famous Apollo Theater in New York City has never witnessed before - a concert featuring soulful Ethiopian Israeli singers. It's all part of the first-ever performance next week by an Israeli group - the award-winning Idan Raichel Project - at the venerable Harlem venue, better known for hosting American soul, R&B and hip hop greats. Says Raichel, 'From abroad [Americans] only get a window into our politics, so we're going to give them a taste of something else.' More...


Health | Israeli researchers regenerate torn ligaments and tendons with adult stem cells  
Over 200,000 Americans undergo tendon or ligament repair each year, but very few recover to pre-injury form. New Israeli research may change that. A team from Hebrew University has successfully taken adult stem cells and injected them with specific proteins to generate new tendon or ligament tissue in lab rats. This novel approach for tendon regeneration provides new hope - not only for orthopedic surgeons looking for a solution to these injuries - but to weekend athletes everywhere. More...


Culture | Finding the signature of Israeli graffiti   
Israel's connection to graffiti can be traced back thousands of years to scripts scratched into Masada walls and writings etched on the walls of Jerusalem's Holy Sepulcher Church. Today, Israel's graffiti is an eclectic mix of increasing high tech influences and expressions of religious and political opinion. And a new and exciting exhibition in New York - Beyond Graffiti: Fresh Visions from Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and New York City - is putting it on display. More...


now for the rest


Total Eclipse on Rosh Hodesh!


The Passion of the Pension (The Forward)
The second biggest surprise of Israel's election last week - after the evaporation of the Greater Israel ideology - was the meteoric appearance of the Pensioners Party.


What's A Jewish Leader? Gary Rosenblatt  (The Jewish Week) Ehud Olmert is on his way to becoming the next prime minister of Israel, but there is widespread agreement that he has yet to prove himself a true leaderComplete column


Understanding the Direction of the New Hamas Government: Between Tactical Pragmatism and Al-Qaeda Jihadism - Lt. Col. (res.) Jonathan D. Halevi (Institute for Contemporary Affairs/Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

  • Hamas has reaped the fruits of the "Green Revolution" that it led in recent years to win many local authority elections, obtain a stable majority in the Palestinian parliament, and take decisive control of executive authority. Hamas' tactical agreement to play by the democratic rules was a Trojan horse. It exploited the fragmentation of Fatah and the weakness of the Palestinian Authority to achieve political dominance as a first stage toward establishing Islamic rule that will implement Sharia law and lead, in fact, to the eradication of democracy.
  • Hamas views its political mission as the vanguard of the worldwide Islamic revolution led by its parent-movement, the Muslim Brotherhood. Hamas' rise to power has inspired Islamic movements all over the world and motivated them to emulate Hamas' approach (tactical participation in a democratic process) in order to win similar successes in their own countries, especially in Jordan.
  • The current leader of the international Muslim Brotherhood, Mahdi 'Akef, recently issued a new strategy calling on all its member organizations to serve its global agenda of defeating the West. He called on individual members of the Muslim Brotherhood worldwide to not only join the "resistance" to the U.S. financially, but also through active participation.
  • Hamas Interior Minister Said Sayyam, who is responsible for the Palestinian security forces, publicly committed himself on March 24, 2006, not to order arrests of operatives who carry out terror attacks. In light of al-Qaeda's growing interest since August 2005 in developing a presence in the West Bank and Gaza, Sayyam's declaration amounts to an open invitation to terrorists of all stripes to acquire a refuge and a convenient base for activity.
  • It should come as no surprise that the Palestinian Authority under Hamas rule is becoming a safe haven for Islamic terror organizations, first and foremost al-Qaeda. Al-Qaeda totally rejects any element of Western influence and sees terror as the most effective means to overthrow the infidel regimes, spread Islam, and establish Islamic rule. Hamas, however, is prepared to make a pretense of going along with Western democratic rules and thereby exploit them to remove the infidel regimes, propagate Islam, and install Islamic rule that will eliminate democracy. However, its ultimate long-term goals are no different from al-Qaeda's.
  • As recently as March 2006, high-level Hamas officials attended events in Pakistan and Yemen where members of the al-Qaeda network were present and in one case offered monetary support for the new Hamas government. Al-Hayat reported on April 4, 2006, "a definite presence" of al-Qaeda operatives in the Gaza Strip who had just infiltrated from several Arab countries.


ADL: 2005 saw slight drop in anti-Semitic incidents in U.S.



Quiet Riot
by Michael B. Oren 

WWhat does Jerry Falwell have in common with Paul Wolfowitz and Howard Dean? What links columnist George Will with The New Republic? All, according to a recently issued "working paper," a shortened version of which appeared in the London Review of Books, are agents of an amorphous but incalculably powerful "Israel Lobby." That same inscrutable organization, the paper alleges, has dictated the decisions of politicians from George W. Bush to Jimmy Carter and determined the content of The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. The goal of the lobby? Quite simply, it wants to impose the will of a racist, colonialist, antidemocratic state on the unsuspecting American people, to provoke conflict between the United States and the world, and to endanger American lives for its own sake. 

Exposés of Jewish conspiracies have long been the bailiwick of white supremacists and Islamic radicals. Indeed, the former Klan leader David Duke has lauded this document for "validat[ing] every major point" he had ever made, and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood has also praised it. But "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy," as the paper is titled, was written not by lunatics, but rather by Stephen Walt, the academic dean of Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government, and by University of Chicago political scientist John Mearsheimer--two of America's most reputable scholars. Well, scholars in most regards--but not in this case. To prove their argument, the professors don't rely on such banal sources as declassified records, presidential memoirs, or State Department documents. These would unimpeachably show that Arab oil (and not Israel) was America's persistent focus in the Middle East--and that presidents have supported Israel for strategic and moral reasons, not political ones. But, instead of citing archival sources, Walt and Mearsheimer pack their footnotes with newspaper articles and references to the polemical writings of Noam Chomsky and Norman Finklestein, as well as the unreservedly pro-Arab Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. The paper's slipshod quality was so evident that the Kennedy School removed its official seal from the treatise. Criticisms have rained down upon on it from across the political spectrum, with one notable exception--the field most pertinent to their paper: Middle Eastern studies. 

The refusal of this faculty to distance itself from a report that fails to meet rudimentary research standards, posits unsubstantiated conspiracies, and, if directed against any other ethnic group, would surely be renounced as racist, raises serious questions about the state of today's academy. It should compel all those outside of academia to ask: Why? 


TThe answer can quickly be discerned from a tour of recent writings by the leaders of Middle Eastern studies. One eminence, Juan Cole of the University of Michigan, has argued, "[K]nee-jerk US support for Israeli expansionism is at the root of anti-Americanism in the Arab world." According to Cole, "pro-Likud intellectuals" have plotted "to use the Pentagon as Israel's Gurkha regiment, fighting elective wars on behalf of Tel-Aviv." At Columbia, the political scientist Joseph Massad has proclaimed that Israel is "a racist Jewish state." Indeed, the contention that support for Israel is the primary cause of Arab rage against America has long been regarded as unassailable doctrine among American scholars of the Middle East, along with a grossly inflated estimation of the Israel lobby's potency. 

The radical politicization of Middle Eastern studies stems from one generation's romance with an idea. The generation was that of the 1960s New Left, which briefly succeeded in seizing many campuses but failed to capture the society surrounding them. Retreating into the safety of their universities, these rebels set about institutionalizing their postmodernist creed, which denied the existence of objective truths and treated all narratives as equally valid. "I don't pretend to write history," Avi Shlaim, an anti-Zionist professor extensively cited by Walt and Mearsheimer, once proclaimed. "I write my history." Infused with the nihilism of postmodern French philosophers, this coterie was also deeply skeptical of its own country's virtue and of Western civilization in general. 

Ten years after the student revolts of 1968, those students had become junior professors, but they still needed a galvanizing idea, an all-encompassing manifesto that encapsulated their relativist approach to history and cynicism about the West. That credo was just then furnished by a charismatic and gifted scholar who, though a professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia, wrote as a Palestinian attacking the venerable discipline of Middle Eastern studies. 

The academic impact of Edward Said's Orientalism, first published in 1978, was seismic. That's because its core argument was so powerful: "[E]very European, in what he could say about the Orient, was ... a racist, an imperialist, and almost totally ethnocentric," Said maintained. He accused the old "Orientalist" professors, who once dominated the discipline, of "essentializing" the Middle East into a primitive "other," thus rendering it conquerable by the West. To cleanse themselves of these impurities, Said implied, scholars would have to identify "wholeheartedly with the Arabs," and, as he later explained, become "genuinely engaged and sympathetic ... to the Islamic world."  

As a work of history, Orientalism is patently unsound. (For instance, Germany and Hungary, which produced the greatest Orientalists, never coveted a granule of Middle Eastern territory.) Yet, by condemning laudable curiosity about other cultures as a symptom of imperialism, by planting this sequoia of self-doubt in the innermost courtyard of academic inquiry, Said provided the New Left academics with a road map for their intellectual assault. 

Said's thesis swept through Middle Eastern studies departments, which, in large measure, were transformed into platforms for advocating the Arab worldview. Scholars who challenged this dictum were branded Orientalists, and students who rejected the regnant canon were unable to publish their work or obtain tenure. Special enmity was reserved for those who portrayed the United States as anything other than a force for oppression in the Middle East or who defended Israel against charges of racism and colonialism. All narratives were valid, suddenly, except those of unapologetic Americans and Zionists. 


BBut the idea behind Orientalism did not remain within the confines of Middle Eastern studies. Inexorably, it spread to the emergent fields of gender and postcolonial studies, and, in time, it grew to dominate the humanities departments. (One Harvard junior recently told me that she has already been assigned to read Orientalism twice--once for a course on French colonial literature and another for an Italian-language class on Africa.) It's precisely this triumph that makes Walt and Mearsheimer's complaints about the Lobby's efforts "to stifle criticism of Israel by professors and students" ring so hollow. Organizations like the Israel on Campus Coalition, which the working paper specifically targets, emerged because real academic debate over the Middle East has become virtually impossible. Consider the case of Michael Doran, the promising former Princeton professor who, after venturing to suggest, in Foreign Affairs and elsewhere, that the Arabs--not Israel, not the United States--bore primary responsibility for their malaise, was publicly excoriated and never granted tenure. Indeed, it seems the only real disputation among scholars today is over which is the more sinister, Zionism or U.S. imperialism. Massad, for example, reproved Walt and Mearsheimer for fixating on the Lobby's power rather than on U.S. crimes in the region. "[T]he very centrality of Israel to U.S. strategy in the Middle East ... accounts, in part, for the strength of the proIsrael Lobby and not the other way around," he argued. 

"The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy" in fact reveals little about the conduct of U.S. foreign affairs. It does, however, afford a disquieting look into just how far the pernicious ideology of Middle Eastern studies has penetrated the humanities and helped render the academy irrelevant. Gripped by absolutist theories that quash all opposition, some of America's finest universities provide environments in which partisan and shoddily documented screeds like the working paper can pass as serious research.

MICHAEL B. OREN is a senior fellow at The Shalem Center in Jerusalem and the author most recently of Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East (Oxford University Press).







MYTH #215

"Zionism is racism."


In 1975, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution slandering Zionism by equating it with racism. Zionism is the national liberation movement of the Jewish people, which holds that Jews, like any other nation, are entitled to a homeland.

History has demonstrated the need to ensure Jewish security through a national homeland. Zionism recognizes that Jewishness is defined by shared origin, religion, culture and history. The realization of the Zionist dream is exemplified by more than five million Jews, from more than 100 countries, who are Israeli citizens.

Israel ’s Law of Return grants automatic citizenship to Jews, but non-Jews are also eligible to become citizens under naturalization procedures similar to those in other countries. More than one million Muslim and Christian Arabs, DruzeBaha’isCircassians and other ethnic groups also are represented in Israel ’s population. The presence in Israel of thousands of dark-skinned Jews from EthiopiaYemen and India is the best refutation of the calumny against Zionism. In a series of historic airlifts, labeled Moses (1984), Joshua (1985) and Solomon (1991), Israel rescued more than 20,000 members of the ancient Ethiopian Jewish community.

Zionism does not discriminate against anyone. Israel ’s open and democratic character, and its scrupulous protection of the religious and political rights of Christians and Muslims, rebut the charge of exclusivity. Moreover, anyone — Jew or non-Jew, Israeli, American, or Saudi, black, white, yellow or purple — can be a Zionist.

By contrast, the Arab states define citizenship strictly by native parentage. It is almost impossible to become a naturalized citizen in many Arab states, especially AlgeriaSaudi Arabia and Kuwait. Several Arab nations have laws that facilitate the naturalization of foreign Arabs, with the specific exception of PalestiniansJordan, on the other hand, instituted its own “law of return” in 1954, according citizenship to all former residents of Palestine , except for Jews (Jordanian Nationality Law, Article 3(3) of Law No. 6 of 1954, Official Gazette, No. 1171, February 16, 1954).

To single out Jewish self-determination for condemnation is itself a form of racism. When approached by a student at Harvard in 1968 who attacked Zionism, Martin Luther King responded: “When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You’re talking anti-Semitism” (Seymour Martin Lipset, “The Socialism of Fools-The Left, the Jews and Israel,” Encounter, December 1969, p. 24.)

The 1975 UN resolution was part of the Soviet-Arab Cold War anti-Israel campaign. Almost all the former non-Arab supporters of the resolution have apologized and changed their positions. When the General Assembly voted to repeal the resolution in 1991, only some Arab and Muslim states, as well as Cuba , North Korea and Vietnam were opposed.

Writing after “Operation Moses” was revealed, William Safire noted:

“...For the first time in history, thousands of black people are being brought to a country not in chains but in dignity, not as slaves but as citizens” (New York Times, January 7, 1985).

This article can be found at

Source: REVISED Myths & Facts Online -- A Guide to the Arab-Israeli Conflict by Mitchell G. Bard.








Adult Ed on Sunday


This week

April 9


9:00 AM “Judaism for Everyone”

 “How to Run the Best Seder in Town






The Darfur Support Coalition of Fairfield County has been very active in raising awareness of the terrible genocide taking place in Darfur (Western Sudan). Some of their recent activities include:  
      o Participation in a national Million Voices for Darfur post card campaign to
         President Bush asking him to use his influence to create an international
         force to protect the refugees in Darfur.
      o Planning and recruiting for a bus trip to Washington on April 30 to join the
         national rally to stop the genocide in Darfur.
      o Working in concert with other Darfur support groups  to convince the State of
         Connecticut to divest itself of companies that are investing in or otherwise
         supporting Darfur.

There are still too many people who are unaware of what is happening in Darfur.  We will be seeing a presentation designed to raise awareness of the crime against humanity that is taking place there, and what we can do to help stop it. The presentation includes an overview/background of the current situation, a 10 minute DVD, a Q& A period and handouts.



Learning and Latte

We’re going to postpone this coming week’s Learning and Latte session, based on feedback from those who attended last month’s, in that it falls on the night before Passover and during Holy week, a very busy time for many.  The topic for this session, Jesus and Muhammad, will carry over to the next one, scheduled for May 9.

First Ever! Sisterhood Cookbook

Available in September 2006

Delicious Recipes! Kosher! Family Favorites!

Please help to defray the costs

\be a sponsor, place an ad, order your copies now ($18 each).

**Proceeds to fund kitchen renovation and other TBE capital improvements**

**Call Beth Silver 967-8852 for information**



Rally to Stop Genocide


Sunday, April 30th

 1:30 pm -  4:00 pm




by Showing Our Solidarity With The People of Darfur


Group transportation will be organized for the CT delegation.   

Transportation from Hartford, contact Andrea Cobrin-Long /860-727-5770.

Bus transportation from New Haven, contact Lauri Lowell at (203) 387-2424 ext: 318.

Bus transportation from Westport, Contact Rabbi Orkand

Temple Israel 203-227-1293  or


CT Coalition to Save Darfur website -


Genocide: "NOT ON OUR WATCH!"


Organized by the SAVE DARFUR Campaign








Matzo Man

(thanks to Shelley Zielinski, Sandy Siegartel and others for forwarding it)



Previous Shabbat-O-Grams can be accessed directly from our web site (

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